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Coach Bob Bowman says Michael Phelps has been swimming at North Baltimore Aquatic Club

The Baltimore Sun

12:48 PM EDT, October 21, 2013

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Michael Phelps is keeping everyone guessing.

Less than a week after Phelps told a Maine TV station that “I’m retired. I love it. It’s fun,” his coach Bob Bowman told a French news agency that the winner of the most medals in Olympic history has been getting back into the pool at North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

The Agence France-Presse's Robert MacPherson, speaking with Bowman about one of his newest students, France's Yannick Agnel, asked the swim coach about Phelps in the Q&A:

AFP: "You're still close to Phelps; the two of you even own a two-year-old race horse together. And he's often seen here at the pool. Can we expect a comeback?"

Bowman: "He trains with the guys every now and then to stay in shape. He took a year off from fitness and he felt he was out of shape, so over the last, I don't know, six weeks he's been coming back and doing sessions. I don't know if that translates into a comeback. I think when you see him at a meet, then you would know he is coming back."

Before leaving for China last week to help Under Armour open a new retail store, Phelps again tried to put to rest rumors that he’s returning to competitive swimming.

“I've said nothing about a comeback," Phelps told Bill Green of WCSH in Maine in a story that aired last Tuesday. "I have said nothing about a comeback. It's everybody else opening their mouths and saying comments that they think I'm going to do or think that I said. I've never said anything publicly."

But when his coach tells AFP and other news organizations that Phelps has been getting back into the pool, one has to wonder. It makes sense that he’s swimming to stay in shape since that’s what he’s done all of his life, but is there a bigger goal in mind, like Rio in 2016?

If Phelps wanted to swim in the 2014 U.S. nationals to qualify for the 2015 world swimming championships, he would have to apply to be drug tested nine months before the nationals in August 2014, according to USA Swimming. That would mean he’d have to re-enter the testing program in November.